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New York, 19 September 2016: UNICEF statement on the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants

© UNICEF/UN020043/Gilbertson VII Photo
Eritrea asylum seekers at the CARA reception center in Mineo, Sicily, in May 2016. The camp, formerly a U.S. Military barracks, holds approximately 3,000 people.

NEW YORK, 19 September 2016 – “The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants represents a first step in addressing the unprecedented level of human mobility the world is facing.

“The Declaration outlines a more comprehensive, predictable and sustainable response to forced displacement, and a system of governance for international migration. Its emphasis on the need for Member States to comply with their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child is a crucial step toward securing the rights of all children on the move.

“The Declaration underscores the acute risks faced by refugee and migrant children, particularly those traveling on their own, and the need to provide them with specialized protection. It includes, crucially, a commitment to making sure they can quickly go back to school once they have reached their destination countries, and outlines measures to keep families together and counter xenophobia.

“Over the next two years, UNICEF will work with Member States, United Nations partners, civil society, and children, to spell out specific and measurable actions to protect all children uprooted from their homes. UNICEF calls on the international community to focus on six specific actions to help displaced, refugee and migrant children:

  • Protect child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence.
  • End the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating by introducing a range of practical alternatives.
  • Keep families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status.
  • Keep refugee and migrant children learning and giving them access to health and other quality services.
  • Press for action on the underlying causes of large-scale movements of refugees and migrants.
  • Promote measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization.”

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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

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For more information, please contact:
Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, +1 917 209 1804,
Chris Tidey, UNICEF New York, +1 917 340 3017,



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